LSST Corporation proposes the development of an innovative research fellowship that couples astronomers and social scientists in two convergent, multi-disciplinary cohorts of postdocs and early-career researchers engaging with mentors and collaborators in the growing Rubin Observatory LSST science community.
The Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) will transform astrophysics. Many of astrophysics' biggest questions will be examined in a way previously not possible: what is the nature of dark energy and physical driver for the Universe’s accelerating expansion? What is dark matter made of? How do black holes of all scales form and evolve? How do the basic elements in the periodic table form in nature? What is the structure of our own galaxy and our own solar system, down to the identification and monitoring of bodies that might collide with Earth? The discovery potential is unmatched, if we can harness the data. With federal funding providing only the most basic tools and data releases, the need for community-driven tool solutions is paramount. These solutions require innovative and coordinated analyses to uncover the answers we are after, and a community research mindset that will be nothing short of unique. There are key needs for recruiting the young generation of astronomers focused on LSST science, for effective knowledge transfer among them, and for building the kind of dynamic and inclusive environment that fosters new ideas and leads to discoveries.
The proposed fellowship project will support ten astrophysics postdoctoral Fellows to pursue LSST-related science over three-to-four-year terms starting in Fall 2022, coinciding with early LSST operations. It will also support two to four early career Fellows in the social sciences to work collaboratively with the astrophysics Fellows and the broader astrophysics community to determine how best to foster inclusive, collaborative, productive team science.